The main misconception that I want to clarify is that in European football, many believe that switching to a new stadium for a team will significantly boost the team’s performance. However, in reality, this is hardly ever the case.  Researchers have found that although new stadiums have novelty effects, these effects are rarely sustainable. Often, right after teams switching to new stadiums, the attendance will surge which in turn raises team morale and boost performance, but this effect is usually short-term. Evidence of this claim is shown through data provided by Sky Sport historical data.

Five teams, from Europe’s top five leagues, are sampled and all of which have switched stadiums sometime between 2000 and 2015. These teams are selected to represent all levels of competition: from the world beaters like Bayern and Juventus, to above average Arsenal, to below average Man City and Nice. For each team, I collected data for the two seasons prior to switching stadium and two seasons after switching stadium. Specifically, Domestic league placement, home game wins, losses, and draw are recorded for each individual season. Domestic league placements gives an overall sense of how well a team performed during that season and this is plotted with respect to time. To make it obvious, the years on the vertical axis are offsetted to indicate when teams switched stadiums. Each stadium switching event is then connected to legends in the middle of the info-graphics to indicate which team the event is associated with. The legends are arranged in such a way that they line up with the events in chronological order, hence avoid crossing between lines connecting them and the events. Each legend is then connected to the corresponding comparison plots for that team, comparing average home game wins, losses, and draw for the two seasons prior and after the stadium switch. A 50 percent line is drawn vertically for ease of comparison.

It’s not hard to infer form both domestic league placement box plot and individual comparison plots that switching stadium for a team doesn’t really improve that team’s overall performance in the league. Hence I can be fairly confident to conclude from my info-graphics that better stadium with advanced technology and infrastructure does not necessarily guarantee a team’s success on the pitch.

I’m mostly proud of myself for being able to find data to support my hypothesis, and was able to put the relevant data together in a somewhat human readable fashion. In terms of the most difficult part of making info-graphics, I think it’s definitely translating data from excel sheet to actual meaningful plots that support my argument. Due to the number of variables and the high-dimensional nature of the data, reducing them down to two-dimensional plots while still maintaining their significance is quite challenge.


Bib Blog: